Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: June 2009 Page 1 of 4

Running vs Running Away

You know that scene in Moulin Rouge where Satine is on top of the elephant?  The one where she’s singing “One day I’ll fly away, leave all this to yesterday.  Why live life from dream to dream and dread the day when dreaming ends…”?  Yeah, I get like that sometimes.  I got it real bad yesterday.

Now, I love my life.  I have a wonderful, fantastic Zliten, and a gal could not ask for a better partner in crime.  He supports me on my silly endeavours of half-marathoning, randomly picking numbers for shirts for me, and has even done a damn large share of the wedding planning when it got too much for me.   This one, he is a keeper, and he is coming with when I fly away anywhere, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am thankful daily that I have a great group of friends, a big, comfortable house to play in, a nice new gas efficient car with all the bells and whistles, and I can still afford the payments on all this with my stable job in an industry I love.  Of course, I want it all and I want it now, but I’m feeling very good lately with what I have in comparison to what I don’t have.

However, sometimes I get the nomadic feeling and want to just get up and go.  Go somewhere, anywhere, anywhere but here.  I feel trapped in my life and want to run away.  The pressure of having to keep the job so I can afford the house and the car becomes stifling.  Having to deal with the day to day minutiae becomes tedious because I want to be off backpacking in Europe or roadtripping around the US.  I want to pack up a small amount of my shit and get in my car and go somewhere away.  I hate that I don’t have the possibility right now to just take off and go.

It’s not as if it would do me much good anyway.  Generally, I have about a 4-7 day span that I actually enjoy being away from home.  The last Vegas trip was about a day too short, but the last 8 day cruise was just a little too long.  By the time a week passes, I miss my bed, my couch, my patio, my life, and am ready to go home.  I am not a nomad at heart.  I like having a home base where all my crap is.  Sometimes I just forget that though and want to just do something… spontaneous.  Sometimes I forget that I like to micromanage everything in my life and have the urge to be the kind of person that could hop the first plane out of the airport, no matter where it was going.

I tend to psychoanalyze myself when I do or think something I don’t understand and realized that many factors weighed into this –

1.  I got some news at work that sort of shifted my job back from the cool, fun thing I was doing to more of a normal role.  I pouted for a while because I felt like my toys were getting taken away but I realized this is an opportunity.  I am being asked, for the first time in 4 years of holding the title of Associate Producer, to actually be an Associate Producer.  I’ve always lacked a little bit of confidence because I never felt I knew how to do a typical AP’s job.  Now, I get a chance to learn and conquer.

2.  My Zliten was really down yesterday, and the feeling kinda seeped over to me, instead of me being able to cheer him up.  It usually works the other way but not yesterday.

3.  It’s too hot to go outside, which is pissing me off royally.  Now that I’m not training/working/eating/sleeping/resting every moment of the weekdays, I have time to do fun stuff!  I think, “OMG after work let’s go ride our bikes downtown and hit the mini golf place and have dinner and…oh crap it’s 105 fucking degrees outside (literally), let’s not”.  We just couldn’t figure out an adventure to have in town that didn’t cost a lot of money, involve drinking, or involved being outside.  No disc golf, roller skating wasn’t open, ice skating wasn’t open, movie sounded meh, didn’t want to hit up a bar, and we just couldn’t think of anything else.  If it was just 10 degrees cooler we could have been out on a bike adventure and it would have been awesome, and I could have looked forward to it all day.

4.  The biggie – I had just taken a week off running.  I was so focused on the half training that I didn’t have the desire to run away.  Running just made me feel so free and so accomplished at the same time.  Nothing else fazed me because I was working on something huge.  I got to go out 4 times a week and get the wind in my hair and it was just me and my thoughts.  I guess it was also an awesome feeling knowing that I could pretty much by the end of my training run one way anywhere I wanted to go.  I mean, maybe not all the way to the suburbs or south Austin, but the radius of where my feet could carry me was huge.  Most importantly – the running was so tiring physically it shut my brain off too.

Instead of hitting the road or the airport, we made big huge gigantic salads which were so pretty they needed pictures (expect a recipe post soon) and declared night to be different night.  We banned internet dorking and TV watching, because that’s what we do every night at home.  Instead, we downloaded some game demos, and ended up purchasing Sam and Max on the Xbox360, which is hilarious and fun, and we played together until my eyes got heavy.  Mood was definitely improved by the end of the day, and since I got my run on this morning and got my attitude in check about work, I’ve been doing just fine.

I’m still trying to figure out at least a mini-vacay to take in between now and October, but I don’t think I’ll be hopping the first plane out.  Or if I do, I’ll packed for every occasion and I’ll have submitted my time off at least 2 weeks ahead of time, because that’s just how I roll.

How the Clothes Make the Woman

Saturday I headed out with my maid of honor and one of my bridesmaids to go to David’s Bridal.  Considering I have about 3 months left, I should probably get on that whole “getting a dress” thing.  I never thought I would be much of a white wedding dress person, but figured I might as try SOMETHING on, and if not, they had some really gorgeous looking bridesmaid dresses that came in every color under the sun.

We got there and looked around gawking for a bit since they had apparently forgotten our reservation to have someone help us (though that’s probably the only negative thing we experienced), but then she directed us to the right rack to look at and told me to pick at least 3 (I ended up with 5) to try on.  Apparently wedding dresses are 2 sizes bigger, so I was looking in 12s, and the shoulders necessitated 14s in some cases.  Glad I lost the hangup with what size things are – that could have really been a bummer to me back in the day.  As long as I’m not venturing into plus sizes, everything is sunny with puffy clouds for me.

First, you have to put on what they CALL a bra, but it’s really more of a bustier – I badly want one now to wear every day all the time, because my stomach has never looked so smooth – I <3 anything that flattens out my jiggly bits on my tummy.  Then, you have to put on the petticoat, which continues the smoothing to about the knees, and then is a bunch of foofy meshy underskirt that makes everything at the bottom poof out all nicely.  Then, you get yer dress on top of all that, get it zipped/tied/whatever, and finally, you emerge and stand on a pedastal with a bunch of mirrors so you can see every angle.

I’m not going to lie.  Every one of the dresses I tried on made me feel like a freaking princess.  Sure, one showed too much sideboob and the strapless one made me feel a little ackward, but at no time did I feel like “ugh, this dress makes me look horrible, I can’t rock the white/ivory/cream”.  It surprised me a lot.  Sure, shedding a bunch of weight helped, but I still thought I’d get up there and look like a silly marshmallow.  I also was totally against a veil, but once I put one on it was like I took another step into magical fairy land.  I couldn’t stop the shit eating grin.  Maybe this white wedding business isn’t just for the birds.  Maybe, just maybe, this will be the one time in my life I rock something white and frilly and feel like a pretty pretty princess doing it.

I guess it goes back to my childhood.  I loved playing dress up to elicit a response.  I’d put on the loudest clothes I had and give my parents a rock concert/gymnastic show.  I’d throw a refrigerator box on my head, cut out eyeholes, and rollerskate around my neighborhood and pretend I was a robot.  Halloween was always a favorite holiday.  I loved show costumes for dance or ice skating.  There were different leotards for different moods in gymnastics.  I would switch between hippie, goth, rocker, or whatever my mood was that day during high school (and the 40% discount working at Hot Topic made it all possible).  I’d don the vinyl pants when I was feeling particularly saucy.  I sort of lost the urge when I got heavy and got into my “elasticy-skirt and t-shirt/tank top” uniform mode, but different skirts were definitely reserved for different moods even if they were very similar.

Now, the “getting costumed” for the day urge is definitely back.  I mean, most days it is simply a pair of pants and a shirt, but then there is pairing it with the right sweater/jacket, what shoes to wear, what jewelry to wear, and how to do the ‘do.  The random number generator has thrown a kink in the “mood wear”, but it’s also forced me to be creative or to get rid of things I don’t particularly like anymore.  I’m about halfway through, and though I’ve been in a very black and red rut the last week, I definitely am excited to see what shirts I keep passing over that might be new favorites if I think about how to wear them in a different way.

Then, there’s the going out – it’s fun to have another side of the closet reserved for special occasions again.  I used to joke that people knew I was dressed up by the fact that I was wearing earrings in all 3 of my holes in each ear and eye makeup.  But that’s actually pretty much the truth.  I didn’t have a set of going out clothes anymore because – well, what I wore daily sufficed, and I didn’t go out all that much.  Now, we are not the socialites of the century, but I can usually find an occasion at least once a month to put on something special that’s a little too short/tight/saucy to wear to work and get all gussied up.  And I’m remembering that I really enjoy it.

I’m sure it’s a mental thing, like when I put on my running skirt I feel faster, but I fully agree with the school of thought out there that your costume sets the mood.  I know if I don’t feel like leaving the house but have plans, once I put on something fabulous, I’m usually ready to go.  Conversely, if I leave the house in something I”m uncomfortable in or don’t like how it looks, I don’t usually have a great day.  Any day I wear this shirt, it’s a fucked up day.  If I wear anything with my 5 inch silver platform shoes, I feel like I’m on anyone’s level.

So coming back to the dresses – even though I didn’t see myself in a foofy white dress, maybe it’s not that far of a stretch.  Maybe, just maybe, I can allow myself to be that pretty pretty princess for a day.   Maybe it’s not any normal version of me, not the fierce girl sporting workout clothes, or the girl that normally shows up to work in slightly bohemian/funny t-shirts and a coordinating hoodie because it’s about -12 degrees with the AC on in my office, or the usually overdressed one in something short and/or revealing and black/plaid/sparkly/bright to go out on the town.  Maybe I can add this one to my costume closet and rock it.

Friday Update

Quick update on how the first week back to sanity is going:

I swear, I feel like I’m in detox this week, at least early in the week. 1500 calories and I was still hungry at the end of the day.  I was resenting how many calories fruit and veggies have because it meant I had to give up something else more filling.  Crazy, huh?  It was weird not to have a bunch of sugar.  Yesterday and today though, my appetite has started to get the hint.  Yesterday I finished the day around 1300 calories and just wasn’t hungry.  Today, I’m not feeling ravenous either.

I think the worst is over, but I still have some bad habits to break.  I think I did right by banning chocolate this week and limiting myself mostly to sugar free popsicles for desert (though I did splurge on about 1/3 cup of soft serve and a drizzle of caramel at the salad bar).  I’m ok having stuff out occasionally but I need to put the stop to having pinches of chocolate chips/spoons of fudge/etc.  Once I get through a few weeks, I’ll allow myself again if it works into my calories that day, but for now, I want to unlearn the habit.

Another thing that absolutely stops is the going to the fridge to feed my face snacktimes.  Fine when I need to make sure I’m keeping up my energy for a race, because I’m not usually eating junk food when I do that , but it’s not fine while I’m trying again to lose.  If I want a snack, I get a measured amount of it, eat it, and then be done.  No eating with the fridge still open.   Again, doing better since my appetite is going back to normal, but still something to watch for.

I’m still feeling compelled to burn at least 3000 calories this week, but it’s been at a much lower intensity.  Bike riding has been a little hard to do in 104 degree heat, but we’ve gone twice for short mellow rides.  The pool was great.  I’ve done lots of DDR and yoga and weights at home.  We are hoping to do an epic bike ride Sunday, and if not, the back up plan is ice skating.  I even gave myself permission to do as little as needed this week if my body needed it but this is just reinforcing that moving my ass is now an ingrained part of my life.  If for no other reason than I feel great when I do it.  I might do a *little* less if I wasn’t training for anything and/or trying to take off weight, but still.  Probably not much.

Also, 3 days until the running ban is lifted.  I am ready to take these legs out and see what they can do on some short distance training!  Next week I think I’ll limit myself to 2 easy runs though – after a week off I might need a little warmup!  I do think the first order of running business is to work on improving my mile and 5k times.  I think I can shatter both my records of 7:50/mile and 27:19/5k, and it’s perfect to do in the morning – it’s cool outside and it doesn’t take much time!

Besides battling with the want to run (mostly for the stress relief, it’s been a heckuva week here at work) and dealing with the mental letdown of actually having to watch what I shove in my mouth again, it’s been nice.  I have just been going with the flow this week.  My workout plan hasn’t panned out exactly how I imagined it most days, but I’ve been getting lots of mellow activity, and I’m feeling great.   I admit I feel a little lost without something specific to be working towards, but that should resolve itself in the next week or two.  As my neurotic mind starts getting antsy, my common sense kicks in and says, “chill, baby”.  And chill, I have been.

Well, I saw a number Monday morning that did not make me happy: 155.6.  However, after a workout it read 153.6.  Same thing the next day – 155.0 to 153.0.  I’ve weighed now everything from 155.6 to 152.6.  I’m counting the low weight for the weigh in, of course, but I’m hoping by Monday everything stabilizes.  Considering TOM just started, that might be a pipe dream.  However, even the high weights have been steadily going down all week, so I think once I finish “detoxing” myself, I hope to see the 140’s soon!

The plans here for the weekend are relaxing tonight (maybe some DDR, 1vs100, and some other gaming fun).  Saturday we are hitting David’s bridal to try on dresses, Sephora for some wedding makeup ideas, and a summer camp themed party on Saturday night.  Then… either that epic bike ride or ice skating Sunday.  Should be a good few days!  What do you have planned this weekend, peoples?


Yesterday, in lieu of roller skating, we decided to hit the pool, because it was beyond 5000 degrees outside and remember, I put the clause of “doing whatever I damn well please” this week so it was still part of the plan!  We biked past this neighborhood pool yesterday (and even then I was tempted to get in, fully clothed) and decided to return and partake of it.  We did bring the car, just because we had planned to go to dinner right after and biking soggy didn’t sound like fun.

We paid our 3 dollars (hi, inflation – I remember paying a buck as a kid, and even after college 1.50-2 bucks to go swim laps) and got in – the pool was super clean, there was a seperate kiddie pool, and a huge, huge deep end so we had space to ourselves.  Zliten got in the normal way, but I eyed the diving board and decided that was the perfect way to enter the water.  It was the first time in 10 years I’d been up on a diving board, and I was a little nervous.  But, being the way I am, I decided it was go big or go home, and I went for a jacknife dive (jump up, fold in half into a pike, and then enter the water straight up and down, head first).  It wasn’t very good, but I also remembered I used to crank the board way back to 6 so it was tighter (and they had it locked on 1, which is suuuuuper springy), so it was a matter of getting used to the board.

Next time, I did a much better jacknife, and then I decided to pretend I was back in high school diving again and rock a front flip, first in tuck, then pike, then layout (which was kind of a failure).  I spent time swimming between each one so it took about an hour and 15 minutes, and Zliten was ready to leave.  I had considered considered chickening out, but I got up for one more dive.  I wanted to conquer the one and a half.  Was going to see how I felt, and I got just the right bounce so I went for it.  One front flip around, stay_in_just_a_bit_longer…KICKOUT and hey – I was up and down and even able to rip the entry with my hands semi-properly.

So, what does this have to do with what’s next?  Well, this was one of my goals this summer – to get up on a diving board (now that I’m not afraid I’ll break it) and see what I can do.  More specifically, I wanted to complete a one and a half.  The dive that generally separates the “I’m goofing off on the diving board” people and “I kind of know what I’m doing” people.  I still have it after 10 years (and actually 12 years since diving with any regularity).  Now, to find a pool that will let me try backwards stuff, reverses, and inwards!

Also on the list of fitness-y things to do by the end of summer:

-Run a mile in under 7 minutes.  I know I’m shooting for the moon here, but my best 400 sprint was 1:41, which works out to about a 6:44 pace.  I think I can do it if I go to the track intending to do one and only one mile (and not have to save myself for 4 more miles of sprints).  My first goal is to beat 7:50, my best mile time ever from middle school, but I really think I can conquer 7.

-Run a 5k in under 25.  Same principle.  I think if I plan properly for it, run it like a race, and give it my all, I can do it.

-Go for a really, really long run.  Pick a day I’m feeling great and pick a course I know the mileage, and see how far I can go.  Take like 3 hours, don’t push the pace at all, and see how far I can go not training for anything.

-Go roller skating.  At least once.

-Go ice skating again.  At least once.  Attempt at least one move that makes me worry that I might fall on my ass and/or break my face.  Maybe like this, or this.  Haven’t done either of those in about 20 years!

-Go climb again.  At least once.  Attempt the big-kid wall.

-Do my own unofficial triathlon one day, maybe in reverse order though – run a 5k, bike 12 miles, get to the pool and swim half a mile (and then just relax there, don’t really want to pay 3 bucks to swim laps and leave).

-Attempt a back walkover.

-Convince 3 of my friends to do a relay race with me September 4th.

-Maybe get antsy and do a short race.  But not until I am good and rested and trained up again pacing myself for short distances.

-Do one pullup, unassisted.  I’m damn close now, just need to gain the capacity to lift about 15-20 more lbs of myself.

I’m sure there will be many others, and I’m looking forward to meeting the challenges and doing something different.  I’ll just have to figure out how to enter the water headfirst and not get water in my ears (everything sounds fuzzy today).  What are YOU going to do this summer?

Half Marathon: The Race

Something weird happened around 5pm Friday.  It was as if someone removed the butterflies prematurely – all the nerves and ramblings that I blogged about that morning pretty much left in the car on the way to San Antonio.   Usually the night before a race I’m jumpy and excitable and can barely get myself to calm down.  That day, once we were in the car and finally through South Austin traffic, I got so relaxed and tired that I wasn’t even thinking about the race.  I’m sure it helped that I only managed 5 hours of sleep Thursday night, but finally being on the way and the road vibrations were just lulling me to sleep.  I resisted a nap, but I kept that serene calmness through the rest of the evening.

We got to the hotel, relaxed a little bit, and then headed out for dinner.  I wanted something I’d had before, and something not spicy (which eliminates most of the food I like), but also something sizable (I wanted to wake up not feeling hungry), so we settled on Saltgrass.  I had half a loaf of bread, a salad with full fat ranch, a 7 ounce filet mignon, 5 fried shrimp, and mashed potatoes.  I ate every bite except a few bites of leftover taters, and it was WONDERFUL.  In retrospect, I don’t think I could have picked anything more satisfying to eat.

We were going to make use of the hotel pool, but there was a huge family there, so we decided to wait until a little later and see if they had left.  At 9pm, I was so wonderfully sunk into bed dorking on the laptop watching Sci-Fi, I didn’t even want to get up and take a shower like I had planned, so I just relaxed and drifted off to bed around 10:30.  I found myself getting a *little* antsy when I started to try and close my eyes, but I just went ahead and went over my morning routine a few times and it was tedious enough to get me to dreamyland.

The alarm blaring at 6am made me want to throw things, and immediately upon waking, my tummy was a bit upset (my 50 bazillion calorie meal and then sleep right after – it made sense), but after a nice long shower I felt good to go.  My good shoes FINALLY didn’t make my hurty toe hurt, so I said a quick “thank you” to the running gods.  TMI incoming – so I had not…shall we say…taken the kids to the pool in a while.  I had been not quite so regular lately, but it seemed like it was more a situation of my body was using everything it was being given to power the flaming furnace which was the Quix-running-machine that I have been.  This week, being a light workout week, I hadn’t quite had that problem.  Until now.  It had been at least 24 hours since my last “moving” moment.  I had ingested a seriously large quantity of food the night before.  And nothing.  Even after chowing down on a whole Zone bar.

We had to go even though I couldn’t…go (ok, poop puns stop here), so we got into the car, got slightly lost, and then around 7:10 found the place to catch the shuttle.  No problem, right?  So, so wrong.  We were in line until 7 freaking 45 (yes, 15 minutes to gun time).  The shuttle dropped us off at around 7:50-something, and then we found out it was about a half mile walk to the actual race.  I started hearing “last call to get your numbers” so I left Zliten with the stuff and sprinted my ass off across the field and got my number and my chip, and was applying it while the first wave of relay racers crossed the starting line.  Since the start was staggered, I went ahead and got rid of some excess water in toilets that didn’t have doors (eww) and when I got out, I saw the second wave go.  I got up to the starting line as they were taking everything down and I frantically waved and pointed at my tag and they sorta rolled their eyes and said, go ahead.  I was the last person across the line.  The chip time probably included about 30 seconds to 2 minutes of standing on the mat haggling with the officials.  Worst race start ever.

I got out a little fast because I wanted to catch up with someone…anyone…  I kept getting these pity cheers, like I was the slow kid, so I was very happy once we turned into the woods and I passed the second slowest person.  After settling down from that, I started feeling really good.  It was a beautiful morning, it was breezy, pretty temperate around 80 (not prime running weather for someone that hadn’t been training for it, but I didn’t feel like I was wading through a sauna), and the course was through a beautiful park.  The first 3 miles were pretty awesome.  When we rounded the final corner of the first lap, I got some encouragement from a relay runner after I asked an official how far we had left to go (no mile markers sucked!).  She cheered for me every time she saw me.  That was pretty awesome!

About halfway into the second lap (50 minutes in), I ate my caffeine beans, which I had binder clipped to the inside of my running skirt (most genius idea ever – it held up so well and wasn’t uncomfortable at all) and then got a nice little boost.  At the end of the second lap, I realized something was a little off – my feet were hurting.  Not my toe, but my feet.  I realized then how uneven the pavement was on some parts of the trail, and my tootsies were more used to sidewalk or level streets.  After a while it just started to become a constant ache which I was able to get used to, so it wasn’t too horrible.

Sometime on the third lap, I had convinced myself I was further along than I thought I was.  I thought I had to finish that lap and then go to the finish.  I ate my second beans close to the end of the lap and then when I approached the turn, I asked the offical and she said we had to complete FOUR full laps and THEN head to the end.  Zliten was right there and said “One more lap, keep going”.  I was totally flabbergasted.  I slowed down a little because the ache had come back.  I moped a bit.  Then I realized, I had one more lap to do and I was done and I could stop running, hell, I could stop standing for an entire week if I wanted.  So on I trudged.

I swear they added at least 2 extra miles to that last lap.  I kept thinking I was turning the last corner and nope, there was just more fucking forest.  I even got aide instead of water at one of the last stops hoping the sugar would help.  I must have looked so out of it, one of the officials cheered me on, telling me I had about one mile to go.  That was the longest fucking mile ever.  Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I rounded the last corner and got a little pep back from a cheer from the relay runner, and headed for the finish.  I didn’t feel like I had anything left to give but when I saw the finish line, I started sprinting anyway.  In my head, instead of “dig, dig, dig, dig” which I’ve chanted to get me to the end of long runs, I was chanting something like “sit, sit, sit, sit”.

I crossed the finish looking pretty strong (according to Zliten), and managed to hold it together for them to clip off the chip.  I walked around a little bit, got about 6 cups of water, and then needed a sit.  Badly.  We found a bench and I just kinda recovered and stretched.  After I had use of my legs back (slightly), we walked back up to the race.  The post-race food didn’t look that great, so I tried a beer and some cheese.  After a bite and a few sips and another sit, those weren’t settling well at all, so we just decided to head out.  That half mile back to the shuttles was FUCKING painful.  I know you’re supposed to cool down and stay mobile for maximum recovery, but I just couldn’t.  I was hobbling.  Once we got on the shuttle, I exclaimed that sitting was the best thing ever.  I didn’t even notice the AC until Zliten told me that was the best thing ever for him.

We got back to the hotel, I stripped off my soggy clothes (a mix of sweat and dumping at least half a water on myself each mile – but I think either would have thoroughly soaked me through and through without the other) and took about a 20 minute bath, then a 20 minute shower.  I died on the bed for a bit and then we headed home, with a stop at the italian buffet first.  By that time I had the ability to maneuver my legs without worrying about failure, but there was definitely a dull, aching throb.  I was pretty much braindead the rest of the day and didn’t get up off the couch.  Sunday was a little better, but my hamstrings were still super sore.  Yesterday, however, I was a new person.  I got up, did a DDR and yoga session before work, and my legs feel, for all intents and purposes, back to normal.

What’s next for me?  Stay tuned and I”ll yak about that tomorrow!

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